The national average of hospital admission due to Covid-19 is around 20 per cent but dropped to half of that in the summer months. (World Health Organisation).
The Impact of Covid-19 on the Somali Community in Bristol Report, published at the end of November, found 37.5 per cent of respondents (18 out of 49) said either they had been hospitalised due to the virus or they knew someone close to them who had needed to go in. The reasons for this high hospitalisation rate were not clear, the report states, but most respondents in the Somali community (60 per cent) said important health advice was either not clear or only clear sometimes which could have had an impact.
Their responses were recorded by Bristol Somali Youth Voice & Bristol Somali Forum between June and August. It also found inequalities were exacerbated by the pandemic such as families in low-quality housing working in low-paid jobs who had been furloughed on poor pay.
Healthwatch wants to hear from all groups about accessing GP and hospital care and whether it is proving easy or difficult due to the pandemic.
Recommendations made in the Impact of Covid-19 on the Somali Community in Bristol Report 2020.
The report suggests there needs to be data shared by ethnic groups to get a clearer picture of the impact on these communities and more advice to non-English speakers made available. More health and mental health services need to be accessible to non-English speakers as many respondents said they struggled to get help from their GP especially if they needed an interpreter.
There were no appropriate services for the elders and disengaged groups for whom English is a second language. 56.7% of the respondents said they had not been able to access any support they needed from Bristol City Council or any other organisation during the lockdown.
Service providers need to work closely with people from BME communities and include target groups in discussions prior to service design and delivery, especially in this period of crisis.